Don Widmer Artist Profile

Don Widmer is a Chicago-based book and paper artist.  His practice incorporates hand papermaking and letterpress printing.  His experimental letterpress work utilizes relief printing with a painterly approach.

Letterpress printing is a form of relief printing which uses a printing press.  This artisanal form of printing uses the same techniques developed by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century.  Each color is applied separately using movable wood and metal type, photo-etched zinc “cuts”, polymer plates, wood cuts or linoleum blocks.  I work from a photograph to create a watercolor painting. I scan and digitally separate the painting into a series of overlapping colors.  I create polymer plates from my digital files.  These plates are locked onto the bed of a Vandercook press, inked, and transferred onto paper through the application of pressure.

Field of Poppies was inspired by a visit to the Chicago Botanic Gardens during the summer of 2013, where a vibrant field of poppies shimmered in the afternoon sun.  This artwork features 9 colors of ink, each requiring a separate impression.

I created the handmade paper used in Iris from the leaves and stems of my friend’s iris plants harvested at the end of the season.  I cook the plant material with soda ash in order to break down the cellulose and achieve a pulp which is pH neutral.  The iris pulp was combined with cotton fibers to form a sheet ready for printing.  This paper is considered archival quality.  The printed iris image features 5 colors of ink, requiring 5 times through the printing press.

When matting and framing my work on handmade paper, I like to float the artwork above the mat in order to expose the paper’s unique deckle edge.


Matboard and More is profiling artists and groups that use our products as part of the 2015 Photo Contest.  

Recommended Reading

Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Let It Snow, Let It Snow It’s been a long, cold few weeks for a lot of us. Cold weather and ice can be a big pain or worse for sure. However, it can also be beautiful and fun. We always try to focus on the beautiful things in the world at Matboard and More …

read more »
We’re on a Boat

We’re on a Boat I will admit, most of what I knew about Renoir came from the movie Amelie. It’s a great movie that I would recommend to anyone, certainly, but not the best place to turn if you want to learn more about Renoir. However, I hope to at least show you a little …

read more »
Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! New Year’s Eve is one of my favorite holidays. It’s just about having fun! It’s about saying farewell to the old year and looking forward to the next. Weather you make resolutions, or take a Polar Plunge, or just have a good time, New Year’s Eve is just great. And it wouldn’t …

read more »
A Little Bit About Jacob Lawrence

A Little Bit About Jacob Lawrence I had seen a few of Jacob Lawrence’s pieces from time to time, though I had never known his name. I was recently able to put a name to the pieces I had seen, and decided to read a little more about him and his style. It is a …

read more »
A Little Light on the Nighthawks

A Little Light on the Nighthawks I have liked Hopper’s “Nighthawks” since I first saw it. It’s one of the more famous pieces of American art, so I thought I would take a close look at it this week. If you’d like to do the same from the comfort of your own home, you can …

read more »
Van Gogh’s Lonesome Sale

Van Gogh’s Lonesome Sale It is one of the sadder facts of Van Gogh’s life that he only sold one painting while he was alive. We will look into that in a little bit, but for now I want to concentrate on this painting. As often as I had heard that story, I realized I …

read more »
Love is in the Air…

Love is in the Air… Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. It can be tough to find a great present every year, but don’t worry- we’re here to help. We have some special Valentine’s Matboards that you can order hassle free, and have a memorable, touching gift for the special someone in your life. …

read more »
A New Year, a New Photo Contest!

A New Year, a New Photo Contest!   December’s winner is this excellent piece from Instagram! Submitted by HiGirlie760, this piece reminded us of everything like we like about summer.  PRIZES The winner will get a $100 Matboard and More Gift Card.   HOW TO ENTER Upload your photo of your art with our mats or frames using any …

read more »
The Unpaintable City- Monet in Venice

The Unpaintable City- Monet in Venice We’re in the holiday rush here at Matboard and More, just like some of you I’m sure! There’s still time to get in Christmas orders, so have a look at our new multi-opening frames. However, even when busy, it’s important to take some time to enjoy yourself. As a …

read more »
Items per page:
1 - 9 of 128
You Have An Unfinished Order